I'm lucky enough to be going on holiday tomorrow and I'm really looking forward to it. I'm holidaying in the UK so I won't be going on a plane, in fact, we are just travelling in the car and it will be about a 5 hour journey without stops. I've been thinking about which sewing projects to take with me for months! For me, more thought goes into that than it does into what clothes to take, but if you are reading this then I'm guessing you put lots of thought into your travel sewing projects too! I usually pack too many sewing projects, for fear of running out - which never happens! As I like to switch between projects often, I need to make sure I have a variety with me because otherwise I run the risk of losing interest and doing nothing. It's a family holiday so I anticipate many an evening spent playing board games together so I want to take projects that are easy to pick up and put down. Whilst I'd love to take embroidery with me, I know that any stitching time will be in the evenings and I just can't see well enough without a daylight lamp, so I think the conclusion is to take EPP projects with me!
First up, I'm going to take my current two scrappy projects - quarter inch hexies and three quarter inch diamonds. I don't yet have a concrete plan for these projects, I'm just making it up as I go along, but taking some pretty scraps, sharp scissors and glue pens will be all I need in addition to the paper templates, thread and a needle. The ultimate portable project!
I'm also going to take my current Sew and Quilt blocks of the month. I am loving this quilt so much that I know I will be thinking about it whilst I am on holiday and I will end up desperate to work on it! So I've been glue basting as many shapes as I can like mad to make sure that I can just pick it up and stitch.
I will pack my projects in small pouches like this one pictured below. I also purchased a Clover Needle Dome as I thought this might be useful for keeping needles safe and threaded ready to sew. So far I really like it and it works perfectly. I also purchased some needles in little cases, again hoping that this would be a safe way to store them whilst travelling. Crucially, I stocked up on Sewline glue pen refills! I'm pretty certain I won't need this many but running out on holiday would be a disaster!
Do you take your sewing projects on holiday? Have you ever taken your sewing machine on holiday?! I'd love to hear all about it so please leave me a comment here or over on Instagram.
I absolutely love all things to do with sewing and I write this blog and share my pictures on Instagram and Pinterest to share my joy with you. The more I share, the more I am connecting with others and I love it! I don't have anybody in my 'real' life that shares this passion with me so I love talking all things stitchy with all of you online. However I really struggle with putting myself out there into the world, and I’m definitely guilty of writing a blog post and not telling anyone about it as I just find it hard to “promote” myself as such. But I’ve received lots of lovely compliments about my blog lately, so I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who reads it. It blows my mind that so many people are interested in what I have to say. So I will try harder to be braver and to announce my posts on Instagram each time I write one. I’m surprised by how much I love writing, and particularly writing about sewing! I really love having this little space to share my thoughts and I have lots of ideas for more things I want to share here in the future. Today I want to talk to you about what I share and why. I also want to tell you a little more about me too.
As well as my own sewing journey, I share products, companies and patterns that I genuinely love. Currently there aren't any affiliate links on my site and there isn't any sponsored content. I share what I love and what I think will be of genuine interest to my readers.
Sewing can be an expensive hobby. With endless new beautiful fabric ranges being released, gorgeous notions and tools, not to mention fantastic sewing machines with all of the bells and whistles, there's always something to tempt us! I like supporting small, independent businesses wherever possible. I find you are more likely to get excellent customer service and a unique product and that's what I love. However I am not averse to shopping the sale in Hobbycraft or John Lewis either, and both of those shops are the only sewing shops available to me locally.
I know some people have huge fabric stashes full of variety and that’s fantastic. I have quite a small stash of fabric, many of the fabrics I've got were bought years and years ago, I tend to hold onto things for far too long! I'm trying hard to use what I've got, but I have bought some fabric this year too. I also love repurposing fabric from old clothes and this costs significantly less than buying new fabric.
I am currently a stay at home mum, which is my dream job but it doesn't bring a wage in! So I have to consider every purchase carefully. I don't spend much money on cosmetics, clothes or going out, any spending money I do have, I spend it on my hobby. I’m not judging anyone for their spending habits, I’m simply just sharing mine. Believe me, I’d love to spend lots of money on the latest fabrics and I feel the pressure to keep up sometimes, but it just isn’t possible for me.
As well as being passionate about sewing and sharing what I love, I am passionate about sewing being accessible to as many people as possible. I see and feel the benefits of sewing each and every day. It is calming, soothing and relaxing. It helps improve mental health and wellbeing and this article in the Guardian newspaper explains it beautifully. But if sewing is an expensive hobby that requires so many tools and notions, and if we constantly feel we need to use the latest fabrics, how can it be accessible to all?
That's where embroidery and English paper piecing come into their own. Both types of sewing require minimal, relatively inexpensive tools and materials. Making a large quilt is a huge commitment in terms of time and investment of money, but there are many smaller embroidery and epp projects you can do at a fraction of the cost. Over the coming months, I hope to share more projects here that are inexpensive to make as I strive to include more balance in my blog between projects that I have chosen to spend money on and projects that cost very little. I also hope that continuing to provide some free tutorials and free printable patterns will be a step towards making sewing accessible to more people. Speaking of which, have you seen my free printable Dresden flower template? Click here to find it, print it and make it! Thank you to everyone who has given this a go and shared it online, it's been really exciting for me to see everyone's versions of it and I really appreciate it.
What are your thoughts on the topic of sharing online? Do you feel a pressure to keep up with others or are you happy doing your own thing? I'd really love to know. You can leave me a comment here or send me a message via the contact form on the home page if you wish.
Thanks for reading and happy sewing!
This is just a quick little blog post to mention a free pattern I have on my website. I realised yesterday that I have forgotten to write about my little English Paper Pieced butterfly design! I thought of this little design quite some time ago now and when I made a little pouch with one on the front, a lot of people were interested in it so I made the templates available on my website, and quite a few people made one which made me so so happy! The larger version (seen above) uses 3/4 inch jewels for the wings, and the smaller version (seen below) uses 1/2 inch jewels for the wings. The pattern includes the printable templates, written instructions and a video showing some sewing tips.
I also started working on making this motif into a proper block to join with others to make a cushion. This is still a work in progress but when it is complete this will be the final free pattern in my little butterfly collection, unless I think of something else! I hope you like these patterns as much as I do. If you do make one, please share it on Instagram and tag me so I can see.
Every year that I've been to the Festival of Quilts, I've gone without a plan. This has led me to walk around a little bit aimlessly, not knowing where to look or what to buy because there is so much to see and so much choice. So this year I went with a shopping list and I did manage to get some items from the list, but then I went off piste and bought more floral fabric. In fact, my list said no kits (as I have so many!) and it also said solid fabric and linens. As you'll see, I didn't stick to that either! Before you see what I bought, I just want to say that I had been saving up for the Festival of Quilts for a long time. This is the one occasion each year where I buy quite a lot of things at once. For the rest of the year I will buy very little.
My first stop was one of my favourite shops, Sew and Quilt. I got to meet the very lovely Jessie and Robin and chat to them about the show. I've admired Jessie's work for so long. In fact, I wouldn't have even tried EPP if it wasn't for her. I'd never considered doing EPP even though I'd seen it and admired it. I was put off by the thought of making my own papers because I was short on time and just wanted to do the sewing part. I was also put off by the idea of thread basting. But one day I thought maybe I should try it and I was googling EPP papers and stumbled across her shop and the rest is history and I'm so glad! Through her I discovered glue basting and pre-cut papers, both of which make EPP a breeze. From Sew and Quilt, I bought three Liberty fat quarters and some Aurifil thread for my machine.
Next I went to Olive and Flo Handcraft and bought these beautiful Cotton and Steel fabrics. Olive and Flo Handcraft is such a lovely shop with a fantastic selection of modern fabrics.
I then went on to Pretty Fabrics and Trims and met the lovely Sarah and Penny and bought this beautiful kit which I've been admiring for so long. I had told myself not to buy any more kits but I just had to go against that to buy this and I know I will really enjoy making it.
Next up was Alice Caroline where I allowed myself to buy a few too many Liberty fabrics. They were all so lovely I had a difficult time choosing. I am planning something Christmasy with the red and green squares and I'm really excited about that.
Finally, I bought some more hexiform shapes from Ashmead Designs as I use them quite often and I thought it was a good opportunity to stock up.
There are so many fantastic stalls at the festival, it can be quite overwhelming! But I really enjoyed it and I will hopefully be back next year. If you have never been before, I highly recommend it. My two blog posts about the festival are only a glimpse into what it is like there, there is so much more to see.
Have you been? What did you buy? I'd love to know in the comments below.
On Sunday 4th August I visited The Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham. It's about a two and a half hour drive from where I live but luckily my husband's family live in Birmingham, meaning we were able to visit them and have a lovely time seeing everyone and also meaning they were able to look after our little one whilst we visited the festival. We've been at least three times before, maybe even four, I've lost count! We always enjoy seeing the quilts, it's like visiting a huge art gallery, the standard is so impressive and it is always so inspiring.
So when we arrived, our first stop was to see all of the quilts, we always do this before the shopping, it makes sense because then you aren't carrying your purchases around all day. Of course the first category we looked at was the mini quilts. I used my phone to take these pics, they aren't very good as I took them quickly not to get in people's way. Also, I apologise that not all makers are credited, I left my show guide behind by mistake. Here are a few of my favourites.
After the mini quilts we went on to view the larger quilts. The quilt that caught our eye the most was this one below called Endangered. I had to video it to show you because it was so so clever! As you walked past it, you could see three animals appear and disappear, a rhino, a leopard and a zebra. We thought it was so clever in the way it was constructed and how the images appeared like magic, but also this highlighted the quilt's important message about endangered species perfectly. My video isn't the best but hopefully you can see the animals.
As we walked around the rest of the quilts on display, I had a think about which categories I was drawn to the most. Turns out I really like traditional and contemporary quilts. However, I can really appreciate the art quilts and the modern quilting category too. Even though I don't make abstract or really modern designs, I really love seeing all of the different styles on display and I find it so interesting.
Above - Trudi Wood
Above - Jo Avery
Above - Cloudtori
Above - Caroline
One of my absolute favourites was Sweet Sunday in Somerset by Helen of henhouse homemade I loved everything about this quilt, the colours, the mix of vintage linen and liberty fabric, the fact it's English Paper Piecing and hand quilted, it's truly spectacular. It's absolutely full of amazing detail and I love it.
There is so much I could share about Festival of Quilts as there is so much to see, I've only really scratched the surface here. If you've never been before I highly recommend it as there really is something for everyone and it is such an exciting place to be. Well this became a rather long blog post, so stay tuned for part 2 in which I will share what I bought. I hope you've enjoyed seeing what I loved about the festival of quilts. Did you go? What were your highlights? Please let me know in the comments.
About the Author
My name is Emma and I love all things sewing, especially EPP. My little blog is the place where I document what I'm making. I hope you enjoy reading what I'm up to! All opinions are my own and I only share things that I think you will love. Thank you for taking the time to stop by.